Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fast Thinking releases its first tablet edition; iPad app created by Bonobo Labs uses simple, logical navigation

The Australian developer Bonobo Labs has released its first iPad app under its name for a publisher, the magazine Fast Thinking. Both the app and the first issue are free of charge.
Fast Thinking is published by ETN Communications, located just north of Sydney, Australia. The magazine is a bit hard to describe as it covers a lot of ground. It's cover motto is How Innovation Works. It then lists the subjects it will cover under the flag: business, management, science & technology, education, politics, people, life -- that just about covers everything, doesn't it?

As for the app, it employs a shell format where the user, after installing and opening the app, downloads the issues. The first only weighs in a just under 30 MB, pretty small considering that the tablet edition employs both portrait and landscape layouts. But the reason for the small size is that this is a modified replica edition -- no multimedia content, though the developers have used native iPad navigation and linking techniques. The result is that the app is able to bridge the divide between apps that are basically practically (though not really) PDF versions of the print product and native apps that go wild with animation and video content.
As a result, this more modest tablet edition makes for a good reading experience. The quickly becoming standard practice of swiping to move from story to story, and scrolling to read multiple pages within a story, is employed throughout. I find it natural and easy to understand. The first feature (actually a "department") one encounters is "Toyz N Tek" and it does use an animation gimmick to transition to different pages -- buttons numbered one through five -- but it is the only example of this.

At the end of the tablet edition there is a house ad which promotes the contents of the next issue, and promises that there will be video, audio and animation content. It may be at that time that the app will begin to offer paid subscriptions -- by then the iOS 4.3 update will probably have become available, as well.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Douglas,

Thanks for a great overview of the Fast Thinking magazine app. I thought you might also be interested to know that the Fast Thinking magazine app was the first magazine app to be built using our new iPad magazine publishing platform, Blotto (www.getblotto.com), and that Blotto is now available to all publishers.

Will Talking New Media be available on the app store soon?